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Featured Story

Attalla leads Piedmont past Shawnee at state

Blake Colston

SKIATOOK – Maci Attalla’s first-ever game in the state tournament was one to remember.

Blake Colston/Gazette Piedmont's Maci Attalla dribbles past Shawnee's Kyla Tarpey.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Piedmont’s Maci Attalla dribbles past Shawnee’s Kyla Tarpey.

The sophomore post player scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead No. 4 Piedmont past No. 3 Shawnee, 58-41, in a girls Class 5A quarterfinal Thursday night at Skiatook’s Brooks Walton Activity Center.

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Piedmont places program-record five at state, Heindselman second

Blake Colston

OKLAHOMA CITY – Piedmont’s wrestling team placed a program-record five wrestlers, earned its highest finish as a team and produced a state runner-up in its annual trip to the Class 5A state tournament at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City Friday and Saturday.

Blake Colston/Gazette Josh Heindselman wrestles Matt Smith of Tulsa Bishop Kelley in the Class 5A 220-pound state finals Saturday,

Blake Colston/Gazette
Josh Heindselman wrestles Matt Smith of Tulsa Bishop Kelley in the Class 5A 220-pound state finals Saturday,

Sophomore 220-pounder Josh Heindselman won by fall twice to reach the finals, where he lost a hard-fought 7-3 decision to Tulsa Bishop Kelley senior Matt Smith.

Wyatt Lewis (third), Fisher Johnson (third), Mason Moser (fourth) and Logan Chappell (fourth) rounded out Piedmont’s placers. Piedmont was fifth as a team.

“Overall, I can’t complain. It was a really good weekend for us,” head coach Erik Ford said.

Heindselman closes season in style

Josh Heindselman entered this season with one goal in mind. He wanted to qualify for the state tournament.

By the end of the 220-pound sophomore’s season, that goal probably seemed like a distant memory.

Heindselman wrestled in front of more than 7,500 fans Saturday night in the Class 5A state final, and although he didn’t get the desired result, the experience capped an incredible season.

“I felt like I had a pretty successful season,” the soft-spoken Heindselman said. “At the beginning, I just wanted to qualify for state. Then I wanted to place at state and then I wanted to win state.”

Along the way, Heindselman won 26 consecutive matches and notched a regional championship. He closed the season 36-5 overall with 13 of his wins coming in overtime. Fittingly, his final overtime win was a pin of Tahlequah’s Dustin Hicks in the state semifinals.

“Every time I got into overtime I felt like I should win,” he said. “That last win was definitely exciting.”

Ford couldn’t recall a wrestler under his tutelage with a stronger penchant for winning tight matches.

“Just a crazy year for him. He really started to catch fire after Christmas break,” Ford said. “He’s a competitor. I can’t say anything else about him. He knew if he pushed a match into that seventh minute he had a great chance.”

Heindselman also won by fall in his opening match at state against Korbin McLaughlin of Skiatook. He was Piedmont’s first underclassman to reach the state finals under Ford.

“He knows his strengths and he wrestles to them,” Ford said. “And he did it at what we call a grown man’s weight. At 220 pounds there aren’t a bunch of little kids out there.”

Recaps of other placers:

Fisher Johnson, 3rd (152): Johnson pinned first-round opponent Corbin Ballard of Claremore then defeated Teddy Thomas of Lawton Mac 7-6 to reach the third place match. There he beat Colby Graves of Guthrie 6-2 to take third.

Wyatt Lewis, 3rd (160): Lewis rallied from an opening round defeat with wins over Cade Cook of Duncan, Gunner Kreie of Tulsa East Central and Ryce Hakmaker (by fall) of Collinsville to take third.

Logan Chappell, 4th (126): Chappell, a junior, earned his third consecutive top four finish at state by beating Connor Henson of Collinsville in the opening round and Bennett Sherrer of Pryor in the consolation bracket.

Mason Moser, 4th (138): Moser won a 23-9 major decision over Enrique Barcenas of Shawnee and pinned Collin Elias of Tulsa Bishop Kelley in the consolation semifinals to reach the third place match where he lost 2-1 to Parker Price of Claremore.

Five other Wildcats take part in state tournament

Bo Hardy (113), Mitchell Lance (132), Hunter Johnson (170), Will Heindselman (182) and Dylan Meador (195) also qualified for state, but did not place. Hardy, Lance, Johnson and Heindselman will all return next season for Piedmont.

Local mom claims Piedmont schools violating federal law

James White image

James White

Melanie Berry image

Melanie Berry

By Tim Farley
News Editor
Melanie Berry wants Piedmont school officials to do their job and help her teenage son with problems stemming from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

After years of dealing with the district’s Special Services Director Lynda White and Superintendent James White, Berry was fed up with the lack of action regarding her son and daughter, both of whom require special services for their educational disabilities.

In June, Berry filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education alleging Piedmont school administrators discriminated against her eighth-grade son because of his disability. Berry claims her son’s ADHD “substantially limits his ability to concentrate, think and communicate.”

Superintendent White said the district has not received official notification of a civil rights complaint.

Berry’s son is intelligent and has a high IQ. He’s enrolled in Advanced Placement classes and scores high on tests. He’s also been on the Academic Team since fourth grade.

“His working memory is at the top of the charts, but his processing speed is at the bottom of the charts,” Berry said. “His brain is working so fast he can retain it all, but then he tries to write it out and the brakes go on.” Read more →

Report cards show progress

Piedmont School's report card

By Tim Farley
News Editor
Piedmont Superintendent James White doesn’t put much faith in state-issued report cards for individual schools.

It’s not because the high school dropped from an A to a B or that Piedmont Elementary went from an A to a B+. In fact, there were mixed results this year with Stone Ridge Elementary elevating its grade slightly while others like Piedmont Intermediate remained steady.

“We’re about in line with what it’s been in past years,” White said. “It’s really hard to put much stock in them because of how they’re adjusted from year to year. They’re nice grades to get but it’s not necessarily any goals we’ve set.”

Instead, Piedmont school officials would rather focus on graduation rates, attendance figures and ACT scores.

“We can monitor each of those every year and see if we improved or not,” White said.

School officials also like to brag about national honors such as the Blue Ribbon Award received recently by Northwood Elementary as one of the top schools in the country. White, school principal Lisa Campbell and four teachers traveled to Washington, D.C. earlier this month to accept the award. Read more →

Ardmore’s big plays push it past Piedmont in first round of playoffs

Blake Colston

ARDMORE – Fourth-ranked Ardmore threw two passes Friday night. One was intercepted and another was incomplete.

Photo by Holly Cowden Jacob Storts recovers an Ardmore fumble in the second half Friday night.

Photo by Holly Cowden
Jacob Storts recovers an Ardmore fumble in the second half Friday night.

It was what the Tigers did the rest of the time that made the difference. Ardmore’s option attack totaled 397 yards on 44 carries and Jordan Roberts, the star of night, scored three touchdowns in a 35-0 first-round playoff win over Piedmont at Noble Stadium.

Ardmore (9-2, 6-1) advances to play at top-seeded Tulsa Bishop Kelley Friday while Piedmont’s season comes to an end at 6-5 overall.

“They’re very methodical and disciplined and they execute extremely well,” Piedmont head coach Drew Gossen said of the Tigers’ keys to victory. “We knew trying to defend this offense was going to be a challenge and it was.”

Roberts, who flashed brilliant speed on each of his big plays, gathered in an option pitch and sprinted 52 yards untouched for Ardmore’s first touchdown of the game. He added a 21-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 34-yard interception return for a score to put the game on ice in the fourth quarter.

It’s what Ardmore head coach Josh Newby has gotten accustomed to from the 6-foot-1, 171-pound senior. Roberts credited his coaches for putting him in the right spots to make the big plays Friday night.

“Coach had great play-calling and put me in best position to get into the end zone,” Roberts said. “I just made the right cuts and made the right moves that I needed to.”

It wasn’t just Roberts, though. Chantz Scurry capped off a 29-yard scoring drive from Ardmore with a 2-yard plunge up the middle to give the Tigers a 21-0 lead with 0:21 left in the third quarter. Scurry carried 18 times for 160 yards and two scores to compliment Roberts’ six carries for 82 yards. Kobe Pickens had nine carries for 97 yards.

“It’s not one, it’s three or four guys who rack up the yards,” Gossen said. “You have to defend all of them on every single play and that makes it tough.”

Highlights were few and far between for Piedmont, which gained only one yard in the second half. Tanner Knight picked off an Anthony Kimmons pass at the Piedmont 12-yard line to snuff out a Tiger scoring opportunity late in the first half, and Jacob Storts returned a Tiger fumble 21 yards late in the fourth quarter.

Still, Piedmont had a potentially program-building season that ended with consecutive losses to Top 5 teams, but was otherwise stellar.

“The teams in the future at Piedmont have a lot to look up to,” Gossen said. “These guys set a standard that’s very high and you can’t ask for more than that.”

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